Maree and Moycullen Meet On Saturday Night as games reach midway point of the season

The Basketball Ireland Super Leagues are officially at the midway point of the season and have certainly dished up an exciting few months to date.

In the Women’s Super League, DCU Mercy and Maree may be the top two, but there’s a chasing pack of five teams all hot on their heels and just waiting for them to drop another game ensuring that this weekend’s games are particularly interesting. 

Indeed, this round of fixtures sees us going back to the very start of the season once more, with DCU Mercy facing Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics for the return game, this time in DCU. Mercy laid down a firm statement of intent in that opening game back in September, commanding the court from early and storming home to a 58-81 point win in the end. They’ve since only dropped one game – at the hands of second-placed Maree – and will be hoping to secure a big home win before Christmas. Liffey come into the game on a 5-4 record, having had a tricky few months to date and were also dealt a blow with Sorcha Tiernan ruled out due to injury. The reigning champions have won their last two road games though, and will be hoping to make it three from three away from home this weekend.

One of the other big match ups of the weekend meanwhile sees Maree travel to Cork to take on third-placed Ambassador UCC Glanmire. Maree had the better of this game in Galway back in September, pipping it by just three points in the end, but Glanmire have become a much more polished team since that opening game, most recently enjoying a seven-game winning streak that was only broken last weekend by league leaders, DCU Mercy. Glanmire are back in their old home of Upper Glanmire this weekend which could prove to be a big advantage for the hosts, while Maree will also need to come to terms with Glanmire’s Shrita Parker, who has settled well into the league in recent weeks and is proving to be a handful for many.

The first game of the weekend meanwhile tips off on Thursday evening when Maxol WIT Wildcats welcome IT Carlow Basketball to Waterford. Wildcats had the better of this fixture first time out, dominating all four quarters at the time, but Carlow’s American, Kaitlyn Slagus has since proven to be a handful for many, while former Wildcat, Alyssa Velles, is performing well for Carlow and could cause the hosts some difficulties. Wildcats will take confidence though in their clinical win over Brunell last weekend, and will look to carry that momentum into this weekend’s game.

Marble City Hawks meanwhile will be hoping that they can push on from their overtime loss to Liffey Celtics last weekend when they travel to Fr Mathews this weekend. Again, the season opener in Kilkenny saw Mathews come out with the win, but Hawks will take confidence from pushing Liffey to overtime last weekend and with Grainne Dwyer still in doubt for the hosts due to injury, this game could well be a close one. Pyrobel Killester are also on the road to Cork for the second time in seven days, this time with Brunell as the challengers. Killester took the spoils from this clash on opening day, and will be hoping to carry confidence in to the game after two back-to-back wins over Fr Mathews in both league and Cup in the past fortnight. Brunell will be aiming to bounce back well from that tough loss at the hands of Wildcats, but will need a big defensive display if they are to close down the many Killester shooting threats.

It’s also return fixtures in the Men’s Super League this weekend and what a league it’s turning out to be. Reigning league champions, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, currently sit top of the pile with 24 points, but there is currently a massive five-way tie just behind them in second place, with all five chasing teams currently on 21 points. This weekend’s games may help spread that out a bit though, with some big clashes in store around the league.

Warriors travel to Dublin on Saturday evening where they face off against old rivals, UCD Marian. UCD upset the reigning champions in the opening game of the season down in Tralee, winning out by just one point down there in a thriller, and Tralee will certainly be hoping to return the favour this weekend. With the league so close, neither side can afford to drop a game – with Warriors on three losses and Marian on four – so this could go right down to the wire. Another tight clash is expected elsewhere in Dublin, as Griffith College Templeogue host Belfast Star. Star took the honours in the opening game of the season in a thrilling overtime battle in De La Salle. Both sides now sit in joint second place though, and with four losses apiece, will be hoping to avoid the drop to five losses in what is set to be another extremely close contest.

Old rivalries reignite elsewhere as Maree and Moycullen prepare for the return leg of their derby clash. Maree had the better of this game in NUIG back in September, but Moycullen will be confident that they can push their neighbours all of the way, having narrowly missed out against Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin last weekend, and having also caused upsets to both Pyrobel Killester and Templeogue this season. Maree will be confident that their home court will help their advantage though, and will have big confidence after eking out a tough overtime win over Lions last weekend. Another big rivalry clash awaits in Kerry meanwhile, as Killorglin host Coughlan C&S Neptune in the visitors’ second trip to Kerry in seven days. Neptune were downed by Tralee last weekend, and will be hoping to take a win this weekend, having won out over Killorglin in Cork at the start of the season. The Kerry side though have an extremely strong home record this season, and will be hoping to give second-placed Neptune their fourth loss of the season.

Two Dublin derbies are in store as DBS Éanna host Abbey Seals Dublin Lions in their first home derby of the year. Éanna, who sit second on the table, come in off the back of a tough loss to Templeogue last weekend, but will certainly need to be on their toes against bottom side, Lions who, despite being without a win, are continuing to press all of the top teams hard and were just pipped in overtime by Maree in Galway last weekend.

The final game of the weekend sees Pyrobel Killester and DCU Saints face off in Clontarf. Killester won out 75-83 on the road in St Vincent’s back in September, and despite struggling with injuries of late, will be hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend following a tough overtime loss to UCD Marian last Sunday. DCU Saints meanwhile will also be hoping to bounce back strong after losing out to Belfast Star on the road last Saturday evening.

Basketball Ireland Fixtures: December 12-15th 

Thursday 12th December 2019

Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League

Maxol WIT Wildcats v IT Carlow Basketball, Mercy Gym, 19:00;    

Friday 13th December 2019        

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One:  

Limerick Sports Eagles v Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, UL Arena-Limerick, 20:00;

Portlaoise Panthers v IT Carlow Basketball, St Mary’s Sports Hall, 20:00;           

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One:  

Limerick Celtics v UL Huskies, St Munchins, 19:00;

Trinity Meteors v Griffith College Templeogue, Trinity, 19:30;

Saturday 14th December 2019   

Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League:  

Maree v Moycullen, Calsanctius College, 19:00;

Griffith College Templeogue v Belfast Star, Nord Anglia International School, 19:00;

DBS Eanna v Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, Colaiste Eanna, 19:00;

UCD Marian v Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, UCD, 19:00;

Keanes Supervalu Killorglin v Coughlan CandS Neptune, Killorglin Sports Centre, 19:15;

Pyrobel Killester v DCU Saints, IWA-Clontarf, 19:30;

Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League:  

Fr Mathews v Marble City Hawks, Fr Mathews Arena, 17:00;

Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Maree, Upper Glanmire Sports Centre, 17:00;

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One:  

Ulster University v LYIT Donegal, UUJ, 15:00;

EJ Sligo All-Stars v Waterford Vikings, Mercy College, 19:30;

Scotts Lakers St Pauls Killarney v Limerick Celtics, Killarney, 19:30;

Fr Mathews v McGowans Tolka Rovers, Fr Mathews Arena, 19:45;

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One:                           

Fabplus North West v Phoenix Rockets, LYIT, 16:00;

Team Tom McCarthys St Mary’s v NUIG Mystics, St Marys Castleisland, 18:30;

Tipperary Knights v Portlaoise Panthers, Pres Thurles, 19:30;

Sunday 15th December 2019      

Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League:  

DCU Mercy v Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics, DCU, 14:30;

Singleton SuperValu Brunell v Pyrobel Killester, Parochial Hall, 14:45;